- Nationalized health care
- Government Motors
- The idea that the Constitution grants "plenary" powers to the federal government
- The War on Poverty
- Racial preferences
Posted on October 28, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on October 27, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
All Everyone is counting on you You've got the money We've got the debt (Oh yes, we've got a lot of debt!) And do we need a bailout—you bet Germany Zat's it, I've had enough Looks like it's time now for me to leave... France Oh? Germany Vhy is ze door locked? You must let me out. France Dear when the times are tough It's better to give zan to receiveThen Monday Marketplace Radio turned to classics professor Emily Allen Hornblower and economist Bill Lastrapes to discuss Greek debt as classical tragedy—Oedipus? The ant and the grasshopper? Loyal Cato readers will recognize Bill Lastrapes as the coauthor of the much-discussed Cato Working Paper "Has the Fed Been a Failure?" And then, if you prefer prose and sober analysis to literary analogies, let me recommend Holman Jenkins's perceptive column on why Europe hasn't solved its crisis yet, which unfortunately appeared in the less-read Saturday edition of the Wall Street Journal. (OK, not less read than Cato-at-Liberty, but probably less read than the weekday Journal.)
Neither leader has an incentive to sacrifice what have become vital and divergent interests to produce a credible bailout plan for Europe. To simplify, German voters don't want to bail out French banks, and the French government can't afford to bail out French banks, when and if the long-awaited Greek default is allowed to happen.... There is another savior in the wings, of course, the European Central Bank. But the ECB has no incentive to betray in advance its willingness to get France and Germany off the hook by printing money to keep Europe's heavily indebted governments afloat. Yet all know this is the outcome politicians are stalling for. This is the outcome markets are relying on, and why they haven't crashed. All are waiting for some market ruction hairy enough that the central bank will cast aside every political and legal restraint in order to save the euro.... And then the crisis will be over? Not by a long shot. All these "solvent" countries and their banks will be dependent on the ECB to keep them "solvent," a reality that can only lead to entrenched inflation across the European economy. That is, unless these governments undertake heroic reforms quickly to restore themselves to the good graces of the global bond market so they can stand up again without the ECB's visible help. It's just conceivable that this might happen—that countries on the ECB life-support might put their nose to the grindstone to make good on their debts, held by ECB and others. Or they might just resume the game of chicken with German taxpayers, albeit in a new form, implicitly demanding that Germany bail out the ECB before the bank is forced thoroughly to debauch the continent's common currency, the euro.
Posted on October 25, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on October 21, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on October 18, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
And as long as the sentence is—and it is much longer than is typical in insider-trading cases—it’s less than half the maximum the government wanted, 24.5 years. Looking at that number, Rajaratnam’s lawyers offered, as points of comparison, the average sentences for other crimes in 2010: For sexual abuse, 109 months—nearly two years less than Rajaratnam got. For arson, 79 months—more than four years less. For manslaughter, 73 months. That’s right: People who killed people got sentences more than four years shorter than Rajaratnam’s. (They did get longer sentences than his if their crimes rose to the level of murder—though even the average sentence for murder was less than the 24.5 years the government wanted to impose on Rajaratnam.) [emphasis added]I do wonder how the U.S. attorney would explain those respective sentences. The prosecutor did face a challenge in explaining just how Rajaratnam had harmed people. Cohen isn't impressed with his answer:
But even the prosecutors admitted that it was hard to identify victims or measure their losses directly. So they argued that the stock-market is a zero-sum game, and that however much profit Rajaratnam made, he took from someone else. This is nonsense. First of all, the stock market is not a zero-sum game. If a stock becomes more valuable, perhaps because the issuing company became more productive, it does not somehow take away money from everyone who doesn’t own that stock. It means they’ll have to pay more if they want to buy it—but (unless they’ve sold short) they do not have to buy it. It’s true that people who don’t own a stock when it goes up are missing an opportunity, but missing an opportunity is not the same thing as losing money. Second, the previous owners of stocks Rajaratnam bought on inside information never owned the profits they would have made had they kept the stock. They only had the right to those profits if they chose to keep the stock long enough for its price to go up, then sell it before it went down. They chose not to keep it. Therefore, they never had the right to the money that Rajaratnam made.Cato's Doug Bandow argued in Barron's at the beginning of the Rajaratnam case that insider trading shouldn't be a crime. And way back in 1985 Henry G. Manne, one of the pioneering scholars in the field of insider trading, argued that "the economic, moral and legal arguments are very strong against the SEC’s stand on insider trading" in the Cato Journal.
Posted on October 17, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Herbert Hoover was “leery of any direct governmental offensive against the Depression,” writes Allen. “So he stood aside and waited for the healing process to assert itself, as according to the hallowed principles of laissez-faire economics it should.”OK, let's go to the tape. In a new Cato study economist Steve Horwitz notes what Hoover really did:
- He almost doubled federal spending from 1929 to 1933.
- He expanded public works projects to "create jobs."
- He pressured businesses not to cut wages, even in the face of deflation.
- He signed the Davis-Bacon Act and the Norris-LaGuardia acts to prop up unions.
- He signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff.
- He created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
- He proposed and signed the largest peacetime tax increase in American history.
Posted on October 15, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on October 12, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Paul’s unwavering ideals of small government and free markets, which rendered him a quirky sideshow for decades, have gained traction amid concerns about rising government debt. His longtime opposition to the existence of the Federal Reserve, income tax and foreign aid is now shared by many in his party.... [Ron] Christie noted that Perry and former House speaker Newt Gingrich have been pushing anti-Federal Reserve stances in recent television debates. Other strategists observe that all the candidates have started peppering their speeches with references to the Constitution. Paul’s years of insistence on small government are widely considered to have paved the way for the emergence of the tea party movement.Over the past few months various reporters have asked me about Ron Paul's greater prominence this year as compared to 2007, and I've generally told them something like this: In 2007 (which is when he got the most attention in the last cycle) Ron Paul warned that an economy based on debt and cheap money from the Federal Reserve was not sustainable, but the economy was booming and nobody wanted to listen. After the crash, they started listening. In 2007 he said we should replace the Federal Reserve and fiat money with the gold standard, and even some libertarians said things like, “What’s the beef with the Fed? They’ve dramatically reduced the volatility of the business cycle while achieving low, reasonably constant inflation.” Nobody's scoffing at criticism of the Fed now. In 2007 Ron Paul criticized excessive federal spending, but with a Republican in the White House Republicans weren't so interested. With even more excessive spending by a Democratic president, that's become a central issue of the era. In 2007 Ron Paul criticized endless military intervention, but most Republicans were content to repeat, "The surge is working." Now even Republicans are getting weary of war. In 2007 Ron Paul said that Congress and the president should not act outside their powers under the Constitution, but Republicans didn't want to hear about unconstitutional acts by a Republican president. Now, after the bailouts and the health care takeover and the unauthorized war in Libya, all the Republican candidates are talking about restoring the Constitution. It's not that Ron Paul has moved closer to the center but rather that the center of American political discussion has moved closer to him. Like many libertarians, I've had my differences with Ron Paul on trade policy, immigration, gay rights and federalism, and the unsavory company he keeps. But as long as he keeps recruiting people, especially young people, to the cause of limited constitutional government, sound money, and non-intervention, I'm glad to see him making an impact.
Posted on October 11, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty
European leaders, for instance, did not count on one Richard Sulik, a dapper 43-year-old who is the speaker of parliament in this quaint capital nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Sulik’s Freedom and Solidarity Party calls the plan an unfair bailout of profligate Greeks and fat-cat German and French bankers that poor Slovaks can’t afford.The Financial Times calls Sulik "one of the last of central Europe’s true believers in economic liberalism." The Wall Street Journal describes him as the father of Slovakia's flat-rate tax and a "free-market libertarian" and says that his party
won 22 seats in the Slovak 150-member parliament, making it the legislature’s third-largest party. It got there after campaigning for low taxes, a lean government, legalization of soft drugs, marihuana in particular, allowing same-sex civil unions and abolishing fees levied on all owners of television sets to finance the public broadcaster STV.
Posted on October 10, 2011 Posted to Cato@Liberty