Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bin Laden, Ron Paul, and the Founders

Marion Smith

Counselor to the President
Marion Smith, through his research and writing at The Heritage Foundation, relates...
Last month, Ron Paul said he would not have ordered the military action that ended in the death of Osama Bin Laden. In his view, “It was absolutely not necessary.” Never mind that the raid by Navy SEALS fulfilled what had been a stated U.S. foreign-policy objective since 2001, tracking down and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11; Pakistan’s “sovereignty” is more important.
That view is consistent with the belief that the U.S. should remain politically and militarily uninvolved in other countries’ internal affairs. But this purist doctrine of non-interventionism is contrary to the founding principles of America’s early foreign policy.

James Madison: Father of the Constitution

Colleen Sheehan 

Senior Research Fellow
Professor of Political Science Villanova University ...
James Madison is generally regarded as the father of the United States Constitution. No other delegate was better prepared for the Federal Convention of 1787, and no one contributed more than Madison to shaping the ideas and contours of the document or to explaining its meaning.

Key Takeaways

The destiny of republican government, Madison believed, is staked on the vigilance of the American people to tend "the sacred fire of liberty.”
Madison believed, along with his contemporaries, that the great danger to popular government is faction.
Madison's contributions to the American Republic are best summarized by his lifelong dedication to the principles of freedom and responsibility.
In 1787 and 1788, Madison authored, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist Papers, a penetrating commentary on the principles and processes of the proposed Constitution. In 1789, as a member and leading voice in the House of Representatives in the new Republic, Madison introduced a series of constitutional amendments that would form the basis of the Bill of Rights. A few years later, he and Thomas Jefferson organized the opposition to Alexander Hamilton's administrative policies, thereby founding the first political party in America.
Winston Churchill once said that a man must choose either a life of words or a life of action. Like Churchill, Madison demonstrated that rare individuals could be both scholars and statesmen. His scholarly quest to discover the means by which popular government could also be just government was not merely academic; his dedication to finding a "republican remedy” to the problems that had always plagued popular government was meant to answer the "sighs of humanity" throughout the ages.[1]

Will We Have a Free-Lunch Economy, or a Real One?

I’m glad that Donald Trump wants faster growth. The American people shouldn’t have to settle for the kind of anemic economic performance that the nation endured during the Obama years.
But does he understand the right recipe for prosperity?

That’s an open question. At times, Trump makes Obama-style arguments about the Keynesian elixir of government infrastructure spending. But at other times, he talks about lowering taxes and reducing the burden of red tape.
I don’t know what’s he’s ultimately going to decide, but, as the late Yogi Berra might say, the debate over “stimulus” is deja vu all over again. Supporters of Keynesianism (a.k.a., the economic version of a perpetual motion machine) want us to believe that government can make the country more prosperous with a borrow-and-spend agenda.

4 Quotes on Free Trade from Classical Economists

David Hume
Nothing is more usual, among states which have made some advances in commerce, than to look on the progress of their neighbours with a suspicious eye, to consider all trading states as their rivals, and to suppose that it is impossible for any of them to flourish, but at their expence.  In opposition to this narrow and malignant opinion, I will venture to assert, that the encrease of riches and commerce in any one nation, instead of hurting, commonly promotes the riches and commerce of all its neighbours; and that a state can scarcely carry its trade and industry very far, where all the surrounding states are buried in ignorance, sloth, and barbarism.

Ayn, What if Atlas Snapped?

Would Aristotle have Tweeted? Would Isaac Newton have been too busy being distracted by Facebook that he would not have written The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy?
Would Ayn Rand have Snapchatted?
In reading about historical figures it is easy to forget that they were once living, breathing beings. We can read and even watch the voluminous material about Ayn Rand’s life, but forget that she would have had restless nights just as we do. We can read her works and hear that she fled Soviet Russia in 1926. We may know of her as a stolid stoic, but undoubtedly, in leaving her homeland, her family, and her friends, she wept.
The lives of those who came before us can be a guide to our own choices. We learn about staunch idealists like Ayn Rand and Winston Churchill and we become more idealistic ourselves.

Mackerel Is Money in a Prison Economy: NPR Story on Charlie Shrem

I was amazed and thrilled to wake to a fascinating and in-depth NPR story on the brilliant Charlie Shrem, an early mover in the Bitcoin space who did time in federal prison for his innovations.
In the prison where Charlie spent 18 months, the main currency was mackerel packed in cans.
The story is actually fair and even affectionate, as it should be. Shrem was the first to implement a full-scale and highly successful money exchange service for Bitcoin at a time when hardly anyone else even believed that digital money could exist as a viable substitute for national money. It was exactly during this time that I got to know him as a friend. It was only three years ago, but it seems like the age of innocence in retrospect. I could tell that Charlie was brilliant but I had no idea of the scale of the enterprise he was undertaking. In the interview, Charlie also speaks of the heady naivete of those days. 

Staking the Dracula of School Choice Myths

The myth that there’s no evidence that school choice works has more lives than Dracula.
Worse, it’s often repeated by people who should know better, like the education wonks at Third Way or the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate education committee.
In a particularly egregious recent example, a professor of educational leadership and the dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education wrote an op-ed repeating the “no evidence” canard, among others:
The committee also expands the statewide voucher program. There is no evidence privatization [sic] results in better outcomes for kids. The result will be to pay the tuition for students who currently attend private school and who will continue to attend private school — their tuition will become the taxpayers’ bill rather than a private one.

The Greeks Drown in Taxes While Their Government Spends

Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve put forth lots of arguments against tax increases, mostly focusing on why higher tax rates will depress growth and encourage more government spending.
Today, let’s look at a practical, real-world example.
I wrote a column for The Hill looking at why Greece is a fiscal and economic train wreck. I have lots of interesting background and history in the article, including the fact that Greece got into the mess by overspending and also explaining that politicians like Merkel only got involved because they wanted to bail out their domestic banks that foolishly lent lots of money to the Greek government.
But the most newsworthy part of my column was to expose the fact that “austerity” hasn’t worked in Greece because the private sector has been suffocated by giant tax hikes.

Entire Homeschooling Family Kidnapped by the State

Raising children is no walk in the park, but it’s even more difficult when the state dictates what you can and cannot do with your own family. Kiarre Harris is a devoted single mother, trying her hardest to provide her children with the best possible upbringing.
Government schooling has been failing children for years.
After growing concerned that her children were not receiving an adequate education from the Buffalo public school system in New York State, she made the decision to pull her kids out of their school.
"I felt that the district was failing my children,” Harris reported.
Harris’ feelings are not uncommon among parents of public school students. Government schooling has been failing children for years. However, since it is funded through tax dollars, rather than being a product of the market, it is incredibly difficult to keep public schools, and public teachers, accountable. This is precisely why many parents have begun considering other options that are better suited to their children’s educational needs. 

Obama’s Disconnects and Delusions

David Limbaugh

President Obama, in Greece, said world leaders should learn from the U.S. presidential election and pay attention to the public’s fears and frustration about the economy. Why? He never has.
How can a man living in such a fantasy world presume to tell other people how to perceive others and react to problems as if he’s been an innocent bystander witnessing these horrors for years?
Scratch that. He doesn’t think we’ve experienced horrors. He thinks the U.S. economy has been wonderful under his watch. Listening to him characterize his eight-year record is to witness willful blindness on a scale my willing suspension of disbelief is incapable of processing.
The American economy, said Obama, was contracting faster than it did during the Great Depression. “We had to fight back from the worst recession since the Great Depression. … But we were able to intervene, apply lessons learned and stabilize and then begin growth again.” He tastelessly bragged, in front of his Greek audience, that his economy recovered better and faster than most of Europe’s. Then he began critiquing Greece’s economy, as if he is a wizard of economics.

Pioneers of the Future and Prisoners of the Past

Newt Gingrich Pioneers of the Future and Prisoners of the Past The greatest difference in our generation may not be between liberals and conservatives, but between the pioneers of the future and prisoners of the past.
Let me explain.
Across America and around the world there are countless pioneers inventing the future. Many of their developments will change our lives.
The development of 3D printing is revolutionary. The impact of regenerative medicine will be extraordinary. The potential of drones and robots is close to science fiction. The entrepreneurs moving into space travel will reignite the excitement of the endless frontier of space. The Google driver-less car could change everything about insurance, trauma centers, etc. And the Kahn Academy and other massively open online courses could profoundly transform learning for all ages.
As California Lieutenant Governor (and former Mayor of San Francisco) Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, describes in his extraordinary new book, Citizenville, the developments in the use of the Internet for citizen solutions are transforming our approach to self-government and to problem solving (except in Washington and some large state capitals).

A Maniac Is Running Our Foreign Policy! (It’s Not Trump)

Ann Coulter  

If only we were able to deport citizens, we could use Trump’s new policy of excluding those who are “hostile” toward our country to get rid of Judge James Robart.
Judge Robart’s veto of Trump’s travel ban notwithstanding, there is not the slightest question but that the president, in his sole discretion, can choose to admit or exclude any foreigners he likes, based on “the interests of the United States.”
The Clinton administration used the executive branch’s broad power over immigration to send a 6-year-old boy back to a communist dictatorship. The courts were completely powerless to stop him.
As explained by the federal appellate court that ruled on Elian Gonzalez’s asylum application: “It is the duty of the Congress and of the executive branch to exercise political will,” and “in no context is the executive branch entitled to more deference than in the context of foreign affairs,” which includes immigration.

The Implications of the Dow Hitting 20,000

The Implications of the Dow Hitting 20,000

by: Mark Skousen
Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally climbed over the milestone of 20,000 after President Donald Trump signaled support for the Keystone Pipeline and froze new Obamacare regulations. My Forecast & Strategies subscribers took full advantage by being 100% invested.
Then, the market retreated after President Trump imposed a temporary ban on refugees and immigrants from the Middle East and threatened to slap tariffs on various U.S. trading partners. Trade wars would not be good for the U.S. economy or financial markets. Trade represents 30% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and an average 60% of world GDP. And — note to populists — if Trump puts a 20% levy on autos, avocados and Corona beers coming from Mexico, it will be consumers like you paying for that wall, not Mexicans.

Trump’s Effect on the U.S. Economy

Mark Skousen | 

The Economist magazine recently asked this question about the United States: “Which is it? The home of free speech, the rule of law, and the rich world’s most dynamic economy? Or a land of social decay, septic politics, and the rich world’s worst roads and schools?”
U.S. President Donald Trump is upbeat about making America great again. But his first two weeks as president had mixed results. Judging from the growing public protests about him and his policies, one cannot help but wonder if the new president is heading for trouble.
I moderated a panel at the MoneyShow in Orlando this week entitled, “How Will the New President Affect Your Portfolio?” The panel included two economists who are close to President Trump — Steve Moore and Larry Kudlow. Both now are on the outs with the new administration, so they could be honest in their assessment. Moore is now a senior contributor to CNN, and Kudlow remains a commentator on CNBC (and a big fan of my Gross Output economics statistic, he told me). Larry now says that he is no longer in contention to become chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. Too bad, he would be great. Larry has just written a book, “JFK and the Reagan Revolution.” I recommend it highly.

Moore and Kudlow were relatively optimistic about the chances for tax cuts and deregulation for business, and hopeful that the anti-trade policies won’t develop. But even Trump is now more realistic about how soon the Republicans can replace ObamaCare or cut taxes.

Economic Conspiracies

Economic Conspiracies

Economic Conspiracies A general economic principle is that any law or regulation that restricts market entry tends to impose the greatest burden on those who can be described as poor, latecomers, discriminated-against and politically weak.
The president of the NAACP’s St. Louis chapter, Adolphus Pruitt, has petitioned a circuit court judge to reject the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission’s conspiratorial call to issue a temporary restraining order that would force Uber to shut down. He says the order would negatively impact nearly 2,000 African-Americans who work as Uber partners in black neighborhoods that have long been ignored by taxis and other transportation providers. In a statement, Pruitt said, “The immediate harm of a (temporary restraining order) would strand thousands of African American riders who depend on Uber to travel around a city that has measurable gaps in its transportation system and has failed to serve our neighborhoods for decades.”

Discrimination and Segregation 333

Walter Williams |

I was invited, along with several other American professors, to deliver lectures at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1979. Pieter Willem Botha was the prime minister, and apartheid, though becoming a bit relaxed, was the law of the land. Under apartheid, intermarriage between blacks, coloureds and Indians on the one hand and whites was prohibited. There was the Group Areas Act, which determined where different races could live. In addition to many other racially discriminatory laws, there were job reservation laws that determined who could hold what jobs by race. My lecture sought to produce the argument that in free market settings, one is apt to observe less racial discrimination because it is costly to both the discriminated and the discriminator.

Will Trump Continue the Bush-Obama Legacy?

Will Trump Continue the Bush-Obama Legacy?

Last week, Congress passed a budget calling for increasing federal spending and adding $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Most so-called “fiscal conservatives" voted for this big-spending budget because it allows Congress to repeal some parts of Obamacare via “reconciliation." As important as it is to repeal Obamacare, it does not justify increasing spending and debt.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the Obamacare repeal would be used to justify increasing spending. Despite sequestration’s minor (and largely phony) spending cuts, federal spending has increased every year since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Some will attribute this to the fact that the Republican House had to negotiate with a big-spending Democratic president — even though federal spending actually increased by a greater percentage the last time Republicans controlled the White House and Congress than it did under President Obama.

The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul

The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul

In his historic campaign for president, Ron Paul again and again held up the Constitution as a benchmark to judge the policies of the American government. For this, some libertarians criticized him. Was Paul not guilty of "constitution worship"? What has a document that began as an effort to replace the Articles of Confederation with a more effective and powerful central government to do with libertarianism? Indeed, some of his most severe critics claimed, Ron Paul did not qualify as a libertarian at all.
In The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ron Paul responds magnificently to this false and irresponsible charge. He is well aware of the limited value of the Constitution: it is a far from ideal arrangement. Nevertheless, it remains the fundamental law of the United States and, if interpreted correctly, provides an excellent means to check the depredations of a government that violates its provisions.

Ron Paul on The School Revolution

Ron Paul on The School Revolution

Ron Paul, Distinguished Counselor to the Mises Institute, recently released his new book The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System. Dr. Paul spoke with us about his new book and how decentralization, competition, and online instruction are revolutionizing education.

The Free Market: Your books in the past have tended to address issues such as hard money, private property, and central banking. Why are you now looking at education?
Ron Paul: People during the presidential campaigns spoke of a Ron Paul Revolution. But without a revolution in education, there can be no Revolution. If people get to learn about the freedom philosophy only in caricature, if at all, and they never get exposed to the Austrian economists, it will be difficult to impossible to sustain our present momentum over the long term.
Don’t misunderstand me: I am thrilled at our progress and more optimistic than I have ever been. But as for the long term, I am concerned all this excitement could fizzle if the infrastructure doesn’t exist to keep it going. And that means we can’t ignore education.

Lucas Is (Mostly) Clueless

Lucas Is (Mostly) Clueless

For the most part, Austrians have been doing theoretical battle with the Keynesians over the causes of why the current depression occurred and why it continues. Yet while Keynesians are both under attack and on the attack (read Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong and other Keynesians), nonetheless, the Chicago School also finds itself on the defensive — and correctly so.
The Wall Street Journal recently featured an interview of 1995 Nobel Prize winner Robert Lucas of "rational expectations" fame by Holman W. Jenkins Jr. — and if the interview reveals what they are thinking in the ivy towers of Hyde Park, then it seems that maybe "salt and fresh water" have been mixed to create an unsuitable brine that not only tastes bad but also is downright economically poisonous. One thing is for sure: neither the "salt water" nor "fresh water" economists understand what is happening to the economy. Perhaps it is time for what Murray N. Rothbard called the "no-water" economists to speak up.

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