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Articles of Interest

25 random things about covering a capital murder trial. Wichita Eagle reporter Ron Sylvester offers surprising insights into covering a capital murder trial in a small Kansas city.

The Misdirection of Resources and the Current Recession. From a talk given by Mario J. Rizzo. “I believe that recent experience supports the claim that the economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek made in The Road to Serfdom in 1944. Democracy and central planning are incompatible or, at least, in deep tension.” Also some good explanation of the cause of the crisis from an Austrian perspective.

Evidence against the multiplier (Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek). The multiplier is what’s supposed to make the stimulus work. It’s also a favorite argument of interventionism by local governments and their boosters in the field of economic development. But does it work? “The large and growing peer-reviewed economics literature on the economic impacts of stadiums, arenas, sports franchises, and sport mega-events has consistently found no substantial evidence of increased jobs, incomes, or tax revenues for a community associated with any of these things. Focusing our attention on research done by economists, as opposed to that of scholars from public policy or urban development and planning departments, we find near unanimity in the conclusion that stadiums, arenas and sports franchises have no consistent, positive impact on jobs, income, and tax revenues.” I wish we’d known of this before we built the downtown Wichita arena. Wait … we did know it. See Economic Justification of Arenas and the Downtown Wichita Arena, one of my first blog posts from October 2004.

Economic Miracle (Walter E. Williams) “The idea that even the brightest person or group of bright people, much less the U.S. Congress, can wisely manage an economy has to be the height of arrogance and conceit. Why? It is impossible for anyone to possess the knowledge that would be necessary for such an undertaking.” A fine explanation of how our economy is so complicated that it can’t be managed centrally. It’s the price system and self-interest that do the work.

Fed Up: The popular uprising against central banking (Thomas E. Woods Jr.) “It’s not surprising that arguments against the Fed are finally resonating. Since the crisis began in 2007, Fed Chair Ben Bernanke has engaged in all manner of emergency activity, much of it unprecedented and of such dubious legality that even some of those who may reject or be unfamiliar with arguments against the Fed have begun to wonder about the unaccountable power this institution wields over the economy.”

Obama Takes On Auto Crisis Without a ‘Czar’ (New York Times) “President Obama’s decision to act as his own ‘car czar’ means that in the next few months he faces decisions no American president has made since the invention of the automobile. … Even for an administration that is becoming the de facto decision maker for many of the nation’s financial institutions, it is a huge step. … In the meantime, the auto industry — like the financial industry — will essentially be run from inside the Treasury.” More nationalization of American industry. Will you buy a car designed and built by the President and Congress?

An Invitation to Debate the New Deal (Amity Shlaes). The author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression responds to criticism of her book. “The gist of ‘The Forgotten Man,’ which has been out for nearly two years, is that neither Herbert Hoover nor Franklin D. Roosevelt promulgated policies that worked, especially not in the sense that we use the word ‘work’ today.”

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