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Articles of Interest

Obama’s volunteer corps, Kansas cigarette taxes, U.S. Auto industry, Austrian economics

The Rise of ObamaCorps (Americans for Limited Government) “Unless the Blue Dogs can muster enough support to halt Speaker Pelosi’s march to madness, the American taxpayer will have to pony up another $5 billion for paid ‘volunteers’ (an oxymoron if there ever was one) to politically-oriented organizations, the aims of many of which they will invariably oppose.”

Study documents historic trend of decreased state tax revenues following cigarette tax increases “This study clearly shows that raising cigarette taxes simply drives Kansas consumers to other states to purchase tobacco products,” said AFP-Kansas state director Derrick Sontag. “It clearly results in lower cigarette tax revenues, not because more people are quitting, but because people go elsewhere to avoid paying those higher per-pack taxes. … We hope this document will show to lawmakers that raising cigarette taxes is an ineffective deterrent to smoking and that it is simply unwise to fund government programs with revenue that is likely to dwindle once the new tax takes effect.”

Detroit’s Fate Sealed in West Wing (Wall Street Journal) Describes President Obama and his team’s involvement in the remaking of General Motors. “Mr. Rattner broke the news to [General Motors CEO] Mr. Wagoner at his office at the Treasury, according to an administration official. Afterward, Mr. Rattner met with Mr. Henderson, and told him he would take over as GM’s CEO.” The president plans to put some of his own staff into the auto companies. We can be sure that as the president and his team assert more control over GM and Chrysler, Congress will want to get in on the act too.

The Obama Autoworks: At GM and Chrysler, politics is now Job One (Wall Street Journal) More analysis of just how bad things are likely to get now that the American automobile industry — at least GM and Chrysler — is on the road to nationalization. “Bankruptcy or not, the larger problem here is Washington’s industrial policy. Even if Chrysler merges and GM restructures, Mr. Obama wants the companies to make the kind of cars the political class favors, whether or not consumers want to buy them. ‘The United States of America will lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars,’ the President said yesterday. He didn’t mention a goal of profitability. … Mr. Obama’s industrial policy vision runs directly counter to a strategy that would get the companies back to profitability as soon as possible. … All of which is to say that the taxpayer commitment to the Obama autoworks is only getting started.”

Austrians Can Explain the Boom and the Bust (Robert P. Murphy at the Ludwig von Mises Institute) An Austrian explanation of the recent boom and bust cycle, including the Austrian model of the structure of capital. Interest rates, as it turns out, are very important.

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One Comment

  1. LonnythePlumber April 1, 2009

    Raising cigarette taxes didn’t bother me until yesterday when I realized that the tax on my cigars is an addition 41 cents each.

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