MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

Trump and Pelosi Ready to Spend Another $2 Trillion on Infrastructure

Posted by M. C. on April 7, 2020

Sadly, a large quantity of Americans seem eager to take the fast lane on this road to serfdom, even as the economic and civil liberties restrictions pile up under the guise of a public health emergency.

https://www.theadvocates.org/2020/04/trump-and-pelosi-ready-to-spend-another-2-trillion-on-infrastructure/

Who says there’s not enough bipartisanship in Washington? President Donald Trump is praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and urging Congress to follow her lead by passing yet another $2 trillion coronavirus bill that would “invest” in infrastructure.

privacy coronavirus south korea 

What a sight to behold, a country in crisis inspires its leaders to come together for the common good. Even better, by forcing more debt and inflation on Americans, the economy can finally get roaring again!

That demented logic prevails in Washington, D.C., and the swamp-drainer-in-chief is no exception.

Fresh off signing the most expensive bill in American history, more than twice the cost of FDR’s New Deal, Trump is ready for whatever Pelosi throws at him next, as long as it also costs at least $2 trillion.

On Monday, Pelosi unveiled her wishlist for what she called “Phase 4” of Congress’s response to COVID-19. This fourth bill could very well be bigger than the previous three, setting a new price tag record.

The San Francisco Democrat listed “more direct payments,” “more opportunity for family and medical leave,” and an infrastructure megaproject.

“She wasn’t bad,” Trump tweeted after watching Pelosi’s press conference.

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4,” Trump wrote, adopting Pelosi’s term for the forthcoming proposal.

Sadly, a large quantity of Americans seem eager to take the fast lane on this road to serfdom, even as the economic and civil liberties restrictions pile up under the guise of a public health emergency.

Economist Peter Schiff, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, has been sounding the alarm that another crash is imminent since the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to zero, promising to monetize debt without restraint or limit.

“President @realDonaldTrump thinks it’s the perfect time for the government to borrow trillions more to improve our infrastructure. That’s like a guy who just lost his job deciding it’s the perfect time to take out a second mortgage to put in the swimming pool he’s always wanted,” Schiff tweeted.

To extend the analogy, Trump is gaining support for the project by promising the biggest pool party ever. All politicians and special interests are invited.

There is no opposition to this profligate spending. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just wants to wait “a few weeks” to see how the other $2.2 trillion stimulus bill plays out first.

It doesn’t actually matter what happens in a few weeks though. When government policies go horribly wrong, a bureaucrat knows that just means the policy wasn’t enacted with enough gusto.

The coronavirus pandemic remains the sole focus of the country to the detriment of the people. Worse than the disease is the government’s cure.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Warren Buffet Just Proved That He is an Ignoramus When It Comes to Economics …And then There Is His Secretary

Posted by M. C. on February 28, 2020

3 comments:

  1. Of course he understands. Do you think these billionaires are coming on air to give the masses actual knowledge or information? These guys tow the line. They know what time it is. The serfs don’t need to hear anything other than government knows best.

  2. Pragmatist maybe, ignoramus unlikely. I am no fan of Buffet’s expressed investment strategy nor his policy proscriptions. His policy proscriptions to tax the wealthy and give money to the less wealthy is not necessarily based on economic ignorance. He seems fully aware of the power of capitalism and doesn’t want that destroyed and he might also understand the power of the free market. But he is also probably aware of the power of might makes right. As long as people sanctify theft by their political activity might makes right is a serious risk to the wealthy. And free market policy proscriptions offer little protection. So his offer to share some of his wealth might be his best chance to keep all of it from being stolen. Very pragmatic and it can work. The wealthy of Rome survived for hundreds of years with a policy of bread and circuses.

  3. You don’t have to understand how cows work to know who butters your bread

    Recall when Buffet’s secretary became famous for either paying more personal tax or paying a higher rate than Buffet.

    Buffet’s solution was to raise his tax. No thought of of lowering his secretary’s tax.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/02/warren-buffet-just-proved-that-he-is.html

Billionaire Warren Buffett appeared Monday on CNBC.

At one point, he stated that some of the points made by socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made sense because “too many people are being left behind.”

Of course, he never focused on the many ways government regulations and taxes are hurting so many.

Though at one point he did point out the power of production, he quickly returned to advocating government interference and a give away program to lower incomes rather than freeing up individuals.

In other words, while an investment savant, Buffett does not appear to understand the power of free markets and incentives. He said, “We need more regulation.” He has a shallow central planning mentality like so many. When it comes to economics he is just one of the masses in his thinking.

RW

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Difference Between Ecology and Economics | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 17, 2019

Ecologists, despite the current mania washing over the world’s media , understand complex spontaneous orders and bottom-up systems. They realize that meddling with an unpredictable and complicated system can destroy the qualities that made the system flourish. For some reason, they just fail to apply that insight to where it matters most – the economy.

https://mises.org/wire/difference-between-ecology-and-economics?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=7b9642e828-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-7b9642e828-228343965

The words ‘economy’ and ‘ecology’ have shared roots, both stemming from the Greek word oikos (οἶκος) for “house”. ‘Economy’ adds the suffix ‘nemein’ (νέμειν), for “manage”, creating ‘oikonomia’ for “household management”, or more commonly the “ the management of material resources ”, whereas ‘logia’ (λόγια) at the end of ‘ecology’ means “the study of”.

Despite these common linguistic roots, the convictions of their respective proponents have grown far, far apart. For anybody who has (un)willingly engaged in discussions with today’s environmentalists , this hardly comes as a surprise; they’re vicious , totalitarian , and entirely unwilling to consider benefits that come with, say, fossil fuels . Where those concerned with the ‘economy’ – economists – emphasize efficiency, trade-offs, and decentralized knowledge, those concerned with ‘ecology’ – ecologists or environmentalists – stress preservation, purity and top-down planning.

What’s striking about comparing the two is how environmentalists do apply proper economic insights – but very selectively and almost never about the economy.

The Origin of Ecology

Ecology’s origin as an intellectual movement was always deeply anti-capitalistic. Through Malthus, Rachel Carlson, Al Gore and more recently Greta Thunberg (or, as we should properly refer to her, “St Greta”), extreme hostility towards capitalism remains a core value of today’s environmentalists. What threatens our pristine and vulnerable nature was always consumption, population increases and economic growth.

Charles Mann, in his recent The Wizard and the Prophet shows how William Vogt – the most influential 20th century environmentalist you have never heard of – viewed capitalism as “the ultimate cause of most of the world’s ecological problems.”

Leaving his main biological theories aside, Vogt was all about humility before complex and uncertain processes that we do not fully comprehend – when considering ecosystems, that is. For improving eco-systems, Vogt and his modern-day disciplines espouse the limits of top-down intervention and the manipulations of natural outputs through fertilizers or genetic modifications. What is divinely provided by nature cannot be improved upon by humans. Their reasoning is that we cannot fully foresee or control the ecological responses; we might be doing more harm than good.

A myriad of ecological examples exist to support this point: rabbits introduced to Australia have condemned various tree species to extinction and greatly contributed to soil erosion across the continent – foxes introduced , either for hunting purposes or to deal with the rabbits, killed off defenseless mammals unaccustomed to such predators. Also in Australia, the cane toad – native to South America – was introduced to control insects, but ended up killing vast numbers of reptiles and crocodiles. Lionfish , probably from aquariums, have wreaked havoc in the Atlantic and Caribbean seas, gobbling up native fish and destroying reefs . The Small Indian Mongoose, introduced to islands in the Western Pacific and Hawaii in order to control rats, backfired and caused local extinction of birds and reptiles.

On the very same precautionary principle, more recent proposals such as eradicating disease-carrying mosquitos are opposed as they may threaten the world’s cocoa trees or have other unintended consequences – allegedly even more severe than the Malaria disease they intend to solve.

But Don’t Worry, We Can Manage the Economy

Nobody is really disputing that we don’t fully grasp ecological processes; they’re molecular, they’re global, they involve millions of species and microscopic chemical reactions that together create delicate outcomes that are often unforeseeable. Weather forecasting , while much improved in recent decades, is a case in point.

The thing is, economic processes are even more complicated than ecological ones. Why? Beyond the myriad of millions of millions of interactions, human beings – in contrast to rocks and atmospheres and bees – act. Unlike ants unyieldingly attracted by sugar or sharks by blood, human beings are endowed with frequently changing value scales – the same influences that work on animals work on us, plus our ability to restrict and limit them at will. We may abstain from eating, doing, pursuing or completing anything on cultural or societal or religious grounds. We choose , which makes us even more complicated than animals or trees or carbon dioxide molecules.

Even when the policy relevance for the two fields overlap, as in climate change debates and environmental policy making, the very ecologists who minutes before emphasized the complex and unpredictable nature of the system are happy to make oddly specific proposals:

· Tax or ban everything that moves ( meat , airfares , wealth , energy ); subsidize everything that doesn’t. That couldn’t possibly affect the economy, could it?

We can mention other areas where the broadly left-progressive position on complex systems is surprisingly upside-down.

On religion, progressives are happy to ridicule some conservatives for their skepticism towards evolution. Believing that remarkably well-adapted designs imply a designer is a failure of understanding selection in complex systems and is obviously wrong, they say. On correcting undesired outcomes of capitalist markets, an even more complicated system than human biology, the very same progressives are happy to empower, endorse and expand benign governments’ power to intervene. The same bottom-up spontaneous order that ecologists identify in nature somehow doesn’t translate over to the economic sphere; previously very scientific and Enlightened leftists suddenly flip and finds top-down interventions not just feasible but desirable.

On the riches of natural wonders (Hawaiian rainforests, Grand Canyon riverbeds, Icelandic volcanoes or Amazon rainforests ), conservationist ecologists oppose development in every shape or form. The reason? To protect the pristine environment from hard-to-predict human impacts. Fair enough, but that limits the number and kind of people that can access these our planet’s wonders – restricting them from the very poor and underprivileged groups left-leaning people generally claim to represent. Shouldn’t we share – redistribute – that natural wealth as widely as possible?

No, they say, since the ecosystem is vulnerable and human meddling would damage and destroy it. Now, replace “natural wonders” with economic wonders (products and fortunes built by the Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs and Francoise Meyers of the world), ought not the system that created them – free market capitalism – be similarly protected? No, objects the naive ecologist; we ought to share this wealth as widely as possible, impacts to the system be damned.

Ecologists, despite the current mania washing over the world’s media , understand complex spontaneous orders and bottom-up systems. They realize that meddling with an unpredictable and complicated system can destroy the qualities that made the system flourish. For some reason, they just fail to apply that insight to where it matters most – the economy.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Doug Casey on the Nobel Prize in Economics – Casey Research

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2019

A combination of hysteria, ignorance of science, and where the money is coming from. Almost all the money for research comes from grants. If you want a grant you have to display the right political attitude. The whole idea of global warming is completely corrupting the science community. If you deny AGW, it’s like denying the Jewish Holocaust in Europe. They won’t even talk to you. You’re certainly not going to get a government grant. Government and foundation grants are what drive science today.

https://www.caseyresearch.com/doug-casey-on-the-nobel-prize-in-economics/

By  October 26, 2018

Justin’s note: Two Americans just won this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics.

William Nordhaus, one of the recipients, was awarded the prize for his work on climate change. Paul Romer, the other recipient, won for research on how regulations and policies can encourage new ideas and long-term prosperity.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selects the recipients, called these the “basic and pressing” economic issues of our time. And I believe many people would agree with that statement.

But Doug Casey isn’t one of them. I know because I recently spoke with Doug about this topic. And, as usual, he had some interesting things to say. See for yourself in today’s Conversations With Casey.


Justin: Doug, what do you think of the latest Nobel Prize in Economics winners? Do they deserve the award?

Doug: The Nobel Prize in Economics should be abolished, along with those for Literature and Peace. All three are passed out arbitrarily, to whomever is currently in fashion, or has the best political connections.

It’s all about Cultural Marxist and socialist intellectuals patting each other on the back. The prestige associated with everything from favorable book reviews to the Nobel Prize legitimizes these people in the eyes of the public. There have been exceptions—but very few, and only enough to keep the Nobels from being total laughing stocks. Left-wing intellectuals talking to left-wing intellectuals about topics of interest to nobody but left-wing intellectuals. All reported on glowingly by their minions in the lickspittle media.

These prizes have about zero relationship to those for Chemistry, Physics, or Medicine—where the achievement is quantifiable, and of objective benefit to humanity.

This year’s winners of the Economics Prize, Romer and Nordhaus, are typical. Neither is a real economist. An economist is someone who describes the way the world works, how men go about producing and consuming in a voluntary marketplace.

These guys aren’t economists. They’re political apologists, who prescribe the way they think the world ought to work, and try to enforce their notions on society. The whole study of economics is quite degraded. It’s now viewed as a subdivision of mathematics, with all kinds of arcane and irrelevant formulae. In fact, economics is a division of philosophy.

Romer, the son of a former Colorado governor, basically puts forward the notion that governments should encourage, or direct, spending to speed up progress. It’s a ridiculous notion, assuming bureaucrats are wiser and smarter than the people who actually created the wealth. It’s an idiotic and destructive view that underlies all socialist and fascist systems. The USSR was an archetype of this thinking. I’m genuinely surprised people don’t laugh and roll their eyes when they encounter these nostrums.

Justin: How about Nordhaus?

Doug: Well, his hobbyhorse is anthropogenic global warming [AGW], and what governments should do about it. This opens up several cans of worms. Number one, does AGW exist? And if it does, should the government do something about it?

Despite everything said in the popular press and in some scientific papers, my belief is that AGW is completely trivial. And what is there is going to drop as improvements in technology make all industrial and consumer processes vastly more efficient. The current hysteria has very little to do with physics, and almost all to do with aberrant psychology.

Can humans change the environment? Of course they can. We do it all the time. Humans have wiped out various species over time—everything from the dodo bird to the passenger pigeon to almost all of the North American buffalo. Humans can have a huge effect on the environment. But does that mean humans are causing AGW?

Contrary to what you hear in the popular media, the proposition is completely unproven. The temperature of the earth has varied radically throughout history, going back 4.5 billion years. This includes an epoch about 500 million years ago when the whole earth was a snowball for as much as 200 million years. Although the earth will wind up fried to a crisp in a few billion years when the sun turns into a red giant, cold is probably a bigger risk than heat. The sun is all that keeps us from approaching the absolute zero of interstellar space.

CO2 is the main focus of the current hysteria. Carbon dioxide levels have varied radically over the eons. In the days of dinosaurs, carbon dioxide levels were many times what they are today, and they’ve basically been going down since Day One.

CO2 is plant food; it is to plants what oxygen is to animals. At about 400 parts per million in the atmosphere it’s really just a trace gas. The vast majority of the so-called Greenhouse Effect is actually caused by potentially much more deadly dihydrogen oxide vapor. When the man in the street is told about this danger, about 10% of them want the government to illegalize it.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are dictated by volcanism and absorption of the gas in seawater. There are thousands of active volcanoes on the planet, spewing CO2, SO2, CH4, and numerous other greenhouse gases in massive quantity. A lot is absorbed by seawater, which has a vastly larger effect on the climate than the atmosphere.

Over the long run, however, CO2 levels are driven by rocks. What happened to all the CO2 when it was, say, 20% of the atmosphere—that’s 200,000 parts per million? It’s now the carbonate part of limestone-calcium carbonate—and other rocks.

But it’s foolish to get hung up on CO2. Many, many things drive the temperature of the earth. Part of it is cosmic rays. They have a huge influence on the amount of cloud cover, which can change temperature immensely. Part of it is the changing tilt in the earth’s axis. Part is the gradual, and cyclical, change in the earth’s orbit around the sun. Part of it may well be the solar system’s orbit around the galaxy, believe it or not.

People have completely forgotten that in the 1970s national magazines were showing images of glaciers knocking over the skyscrapers in New York because they were afraid of a new ice age. People have also forgotten that from about the 1500s through the 1800s, we actually had a little ice age. Before that was the medieval warm period, 700-1400 AD, and before that another cold snap that coincided with the Dark Ages. From roughly 200 BC to 200 AD—coinciding with the rise of the Roman empire—the world was warmer than it is today. They weren’t big CO2 emitters…

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Universities Won’t Teach College Students About the Economics of Climate Change | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 10, 2019

projects that if governments “did nothing,” total global warming would reach about 4.1 degrees Celsius. In contrast, if governments implemented the “optimal carbon tax,” as Nordhaus would recommend in a perfect world, then total warming would be about 3.5 degrees Celsius.

And yet, Nordhaus’ own work—not shown in the figure above, but I spell it out here—clearly concludes that such an aggressive target would cause far more damage to humans in the form of reduced economic output, that it would be better for governments to “do nothing” about climate change at all.

https://mises.org/wire/what-universities-wont-teach-college-students-about-economics-climate-change

I recently gave a talk to a student group at Connecticut College on the economics of climate change. (The video is broken up into three parts on my YouTube channel: onetwo, and three.) In this post I’ll summarize three of my main points: (1) There is a huge disconnect between what the published economics research actually says about government policies to limit global warming, and how the media is reporting it. (2) President Trump taking the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement doesn’t really affect anything on the margin, even if we stipulate the alarmist position on climate change. And (3) If I’m wrong, and human-caused climate change really does pose a dire threat to humanity in the next few decades, then scientists are currently working on several lines of research of practical ways to actually deal with the problem.

The “Consensus Research” Does Not Justify Radical Political Intervention

I first clarified to the students that throughout my talk, I wasn’t going to grab results from right-wing think tanks, or from “fringe” scientists who were considered cranks by their peers. On the contrary, I would be relaying results from sources such as the work of a Nobel laureate William Nordhaus (whose model on climate change policy had been one of three used by the Obama Administration) and from the UN’s own periodic report summarizing the latest research on climate change science and policy.

To demonstrate just how wide the chasm is between the actual economics research and the media treatment of these issues, I described to the students the spectacle I observed back in the fall of 2018, when on the same weekend news came out that William Nordhaus had won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on the economics of climate change and that the UN released a “Special Report” advising governments to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The media treatment (sometimes in the same story) presented these events with no sense of conflict or irony, leading regular citizens to assume that Nordhaus’ Nobel-winning work supported the UN’s goals for policymakers.

But that is not true at all. Here’s a graph from a 2017 Nordhaus publication that I included in my presentation:

slide-2.png

As the figure shows, Nordhaus’ model—and again, this isn’t cooked up by the Heritage Foundation, but instead was one selected by the Obama Administration’s EPA and was the reason he won the Nobel Prize—projects that if governments “did nothing,” total global warming would reach about 4.1 degrees Celsius. In contrast, if governments implemented the “optimal carbon tax,” as Nordhaus would recommend in a perfect world, then total warming would be about 3.5 degrees Celsius.

Anyone remotely familiar with the climate change policy debate knows that such an amount of warming would terrify the prominent activists and groups advocating for a political solution. They would quite confidently tell the public that warming of this amount would spell absolute catastrophe for future generations.

My point here isn’t to endorse Nordhaus’ model. My point is simply that Americans never heard anything about this when the media simultaneously covered Nordhaus’ award and the UN’s document calling for a 1.5°C limit. And yet, Nordhaus’ own work—not shown in the figure above, but I spell it out here—clearly concludes that such an aggressive target would cause far more damage to humans in the form of reduced economic output, that it would be better for governments to “do nothing” about climate change at all.

With or Without the United States, the Paris Agreement Was Going to “Fail”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ignorance Versus Stupidity – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2017

These days the US idea of free exchange on earth often involves cluster bombs.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/11/walter-e-williams/ignorance-versus-stupidity/

According to some estimates, there are roughly 100 million traffic signals in the U.S. How many of us would like the U.S. Congress, in the name of public health and safety, to be in charge of their actual operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the length of time traffic lights stay red, yellow and green and what hours of the day and at what intersections lights flash red or yellow. One can only imagine the mess Congress would create in the 40,000 cities, towns and other incorporated places in the U.S. But managing traffic lights — and getting good results — is a far less complex task than managing the nation’s health care system and getting good results, which Congress tries to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Wish I was a Real Economist, Then I could Explain Mercantilism

Posted by M. C. on June 11, 2012

Economics is part of everything we do, not just buying or selling.  Do I save this week’s allowance or go out to dinner?  Do I spend my time cutting grass or watching the ball game?  Do I throw myself on the grenade or run like hell?  Weighing the benefits of everyday decisions is economics in action.  Economics extends into every facet of life.

There are a lot of economic related concepts

POTUS Obama is a corporatist, among other things.  He doesn’t want the government to own companies, just tell them what to do.  When failure eventually comes the company CEO gets the blame.  Think promoting the Chevy Volt, then shutting down its factories because no one wants an effectively 30-40 mile per charge car, costing 3X the conventional import that has  good mileage.  Mercantilism is corporatism’s black sheep relative.  It is the free market Corleone style.

I can’t explain it but Gary North can.

Posted in Freedom | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »