United States government

1,000 to Protest Attack on Free-Market Principles at U.S. Capitol

I am one of these people! Amidst Market Unrest, Americans for Prosperity Gathers Citizens to Protest Big-Government Power Grab WASHINGTON – About 1,000 citizens will gather in front of the U.S. Capitol on Friday to participate in a free-market call to arms by the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Amidst market uncertainty, and just weeks away from a crucial election, the crowd of citizens from 38 states around the nation will protest a looming big-government power grab and rally to the defense of free-market, limited government principles. The rally will kick-off at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, October 10, in…
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Earmarks are (not) OK

In a Wichita Eagle letter, writer Prem N. Bajaj of Wichita makes the case that Earmarks are OK. But only by tortured reasoning, in my opinion. First, he states: "Earmarks finance local projects that the community is unable to support." I ask Mr. Bajaj this question: Where, if not from community, does money for earmarks come from? If you consider just two parties -- your local community and the federal government -- earmarks may seem like a great thing. Free money! Who doesn't want that? But communities across the country lobby for and get earmarks too, and they may be…
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Our problem is the manager of our money

Judy Shelton makes this case in the Wall Street Journal editorial Loose Money And the Roots Of the Crisis: Think of it: Nothing is more vital to capitalism than capital, the financial seed corn dedicated to next year's crop. Yet we, believers in free markets, allow the price of capital, i.e., the interest rate on loanable funds, to be fixed by a central committee in accordance with government objectives. We might as well resurrect Gosplan, the old Soviet State Planning Committee, and ask them to draw up the next five-year plan. "There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly…
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Wall Street Crisis Fruit of Government, Not Free Markets

Radley Balko writing about the activities of the United States Government in Reason Magazine: Many commenters have blamed all of this on capitalism. This isn't capitalism. It's a peculiar kind of corporatist socialism, where good risks and the resulting profits remain private, but bad risks and the resulting losses are passed on to taxpayers. There's nothing free-market about it. Also: Bailout plan splits free-market backers
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Bailout Raises Libertarians’ Market Value

"The specter of the most titanic intervention in the markets since Franklin Roosevelt started sewing the safety net has folks at the Cato Institute reaching for something strong." See Bailout Raises Libertarians' Market Value in the Washington Post. Also from the Cato Institute: Because of their quasi-governmental status, there is a market perception that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities and debt carry an implicit federal guarantee against default. Hence, the GSEs expose the federal taxpayer to an ever-increasing potential contingent liability that could ultimately cost tens of billions of dollars to rectify. When was this written? A week…
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The Bailout Reader

The Ludwig von Mises Institute has compiled The Bailout Reader, a collection of articles relevant to the current situation. Not all these articles are from the past few weeks, as Austrian economists have long understood the dangers of government interventionism, the fruits of which we see today. The events taking place in the financial market offer an illustration of the soundness of the Austrian theory of money, banking, and credit cycles, and Mises.org is your source not only for analysis of these events but also the economic theory that helps explain what is happening and what to do about it.…
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Ron Paul’s Wisdom on the Current Financial Crisis

Ron Paul writes My Answer to the President, noting that the "financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived." He introduces a quotation from Hayek this way: F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize for showing how central banks’ manipulation of interest rates creates the boom-bust cycle with which we are sadly familiar. In 1932, in the depths of the Great Depression, he described the foolish policies being pursued in his day -- and which are being proposed, just as destructively, in our own. In my opinion, a great danger we face is that just as the Great…
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Is There Anyone Left to Pay Taxes?

The Tax Foundation reports that soon nearly half of the tax returns filed will owe no federal income tax, according to the economic plans of John McCain and Barack Obama. In its analysis Both Candidates' Tax Plans Will Reduce Millions of Taxpayers' Liability to Zero (or Less), the Tax Foundation reports that McCain's announced tax reforms will result in 43 percent of tax returns owing no federal income tax. Obama's would result in 44 percent. Is this huge number of zero-income tax payers good public policy? Is it wise to have so few tax payers and so many tax consumers?…
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Laissez faire in Washington? On what planet?

Sheldon Richman of the Foundation for Economic Education contributes analysis of the current economic situation in the article Government Failure. A few quotes: Laissez faire in Washington? On what planet? Governments at all levels have regulated the financial industry from the time of the founding. ... At the Division of Labour blog, economist Lawrence H. White asks: “What deregulation have we had in the last decade? Please tell me." ... What about greed? Here White also has something important to say: “If an unusually large number of airplanes crash during a given week, do you blame gravity? No. Greed, like…
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Voters Want Less Pork, Even in Their Own District

From Voters Want Less Pork, Even in Their Own District, July 24, 2008 Wall Street Journal: The Club for Growth recently conducted a nationwide poll on government spending, and the results were exactly the opposite of what most politicians have been saying for years. Voters are fed up with Washington's out-of-control spending. Politicians aren't representing the will of the people when they bring home the bacon. They are really representing the will of their special-interest cronies. And it's not just conservative voters who feel that way. Voters across the board have finally found something they can agree on even if…
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Wind Production Tax Credits Aren’t Free of Cost

Nancy Jackson of the Climate and Energy Project in Kansas has some tips for citizens and candidates to use when talking about global warming. The article Tips for citizens and candidates - talking about the Production Tax Credit contains warnings about what will happen if the Production Tax Credit (PTC) isn't extended beyond its scheduled expiration date at the end of 2008. Thousands of jobs and billions in investment will be at risk, the post says. Whether these tax credits are desirable is one issue. But what is not at issue is that these tax credits come with a cost.…
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Efforts to Regulate ‘Wild West’ Markets are Long Overdue

A Christian Science Monitor article Efforts to regulate 'Wild West' markets are long overdue contains a number of misstatements. For one thing, characterization of the American West as "wild" in the sense that mayhem prevailed, and that life and property were not safe, is not correct. An article in the Journal of Libertarian Studies titled An American Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild, Wild West tell us this: The West during this time often is perceived as a place of great chaos, with little respect for property or life. Our research indicates that this was not the case; property…
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Happy Cost of Government Day

According to Americans for Tax Reform today, July 16, 2008, marks national Cost of Government Day: On July 16, Americans mark the national Cost of Government Day (COGD), the date on the calendar year when the average American finishes paying off his or her share of federal, state and local spending, and the regulatory burden. Cost of Government Day falling on July 16 means that you had to work 197 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government. In other words, the total cost of government – far more than taxation alone – consumes…
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A Mess of John McCain’s Own Making

Kimberly A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal explains a mess of John McCain's own making, and which confirms to me that he is not suited to be President of the United States: McCain's Campaign Finance Revelation. "The Arizonan may not yet fully understand that money is speech." writes Ms. Strassel. As Thomas Sowell recently said: "Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain."
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Missing From the Social Security Debate

This is what I haven't seen mentioned in the debate over the future of social security. Opponents of private accounts cite the risk inherent in investing in markets. Instead, they will rely on future generations of workers to pay the taxes necessary to pay promised social security benefits. It seems to me, though, that investments in U.S. securities markets, both stocks and bonds, derive their value from the underlying strength of the U.S. economy. If the economy does well, in the long run, markets do well. If the economy does not do well, the investments will not do well, and…
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