Austrian Economics, Politics, & Entrepreneurship

Regression at the New York Times

November 14, 2013

In 1987, NYT appears to have understood basic economics, a far cry from the situation now.

Here are two different New York Times editorials on the minimum wage, with very different policy conclusions:

Confessions of a Quantitative Easer

November 12, 2013

Andrew Huszar, Former Fed official (emphasis mine):

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history.

Venezuelan Military Seizes Major Retail Chain

November 10, 2013

Robert Wenzel:

Now this is a final collapse type phase. You have high price inflation, followed by price controls which make the economy worse, followed be even more government interventions that cause even more distortions and suffocations of the economy.

Tech Wiz Krugman Changes His Obamacare Tune

November 6, 2013

Chris Rossini:

Let’s go! Up the hammer budget! Up the screwdriver budget!

Send in more government workers!

Is $500 million not enough, for 6 signups?

Here…take everything!!

TSA union moves to arm agents

November 5, 2013

Friday’s slaying of a Transportation Security Administration officer at Los Angeles International Airport is fueling calls from union leaders to give some of the agency’s employees guns, handcuffs and the power to make arrests.

When government officials get shot, the solution is to arm them for protection. When citizens get shot, the solution is to disarm them? If the government wants to arm its employees so they can protect themselves, is the opposite true for the rest of us?

Making things worse: The NSA Fig Leaf Act of 2013

November 3, 2013

Just in time for Halloween, the Senate Intelligence Committee has produced fig-leaf legislation that entrenches indiscriminate collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records, but dressed it up in the costume of a surveillance reform bill designed to ban such collection. The “FISA Improvements Act” does contain some mild but generally positive transparency measures—somewhat ironically, given that the bill itself was marked up in secret. But the main provision deals with the NSA’s controversial bulk phone records program.

… the bill for the first time explicitly authorizes, and therefore entrenches in statute, the bulk collection of communications records, subject to more or less the same rules already imposed by the FISA Court. It endorses, rather than prohibits, what the NSA is already doing.

How facts backfire

October 30, 2013

Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains

Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

Greenspan: Played No Role in Housing Bubble, Calls Audit the Fed Bill Terrible

October 28, 2013

Greenspan says an audit of the Fed would be terrible because it could lead to inflationary policy from the Fed. What do we have to lose?

He denies responsibility for the housing bubble, calling it a global bubble. Yet the dollar is the reserve currency of the world. When the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates (inflates), central banks around the world follow. Greenspan’s monetary policy earned an F, and his defense is that everyone else (who copied him) got an F too?

He goes on to say animal spirits had more to do with the housing bubble and economic collapse than his monetary policy. He then explains how there’s hope for the future because animal spirits can be modeled and forecasted. Thank God Lord Keynes…


NSA chief says government must stop media

October 26, 2013

With General Alexander calling for NSA reporting to be halted, US and UK credibility as guardians of press freedom is crushed.

Governments don’t support or suppress things based on virtue. They act on the selfish interests of those in power. Press freedom is no different. It may have benefit those in power before, but now that it threatens them they’re singing a much different tune.

Federal Prosecutors Cite Warrantless Wiretaps as Evidence

October 26, 2013

The Justice Department for the first time has notified a criminal defendant that evidence being used against him came from a warrantless wiretap, a move that is expected to set up a Supreme Court test of whether such eavesdropping is constitutional.