Issue CCXXIX

January 5-7, 2010

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Economics
Austrians Can Explain the Boom and the Bust:
Robert P. Murphy
January 6, 2010
In a recent debate, prominent Keynesian professor and blogger Brad DeLong claimed that the Austrian explanation of the business cycle "does not work as an intellectual enterprise." DeLong quotes Paul Krugman who, back in December 2008, apparently dealt the Austrian diagnosis a crushing defeat on both theoretical and empirical grounds. In the present article, Dr. Robert Murphy sets the record straight. Krugman's theoretical criticism of (what he dismissively calls) the "hangover theory" of recessions is silly, and his empirical test is also a poor one. Once we set up a more appropriate test, the "hangover" theory — i.e., the Mises-Hayek explanation — passes with flying colors.

History

Why We Should Not Negotiate With Pirates:
Jim Camp
January 5, 2010
It is good news and a happy outcome that in April 2009, the Somali pirates holding Captain Richard Phillips have been killed, and he has been rescued unharmed. This, writes Jim Camp, is quite literally the only way to deal with pirates. It’s not as if the United States of America hasn’t got a lot of experience dealing with pirates. Ironically, the U.S. Constitution came about in part because the earlier Articles of Confederation left the new nation unable to respond to the attacks on our merchant ships by Barbary pirates.

Politics
The Relentless Misery of 1.6 Gallons:
Jeffrey Tucker
January 5, 2010
Many American toilets are filthy and disgusting. The hidden hand behind this unsanitary calamity, writes Jeffrey Tucker, is the US government. The true origin of the mess was in 1994, after Congress passed the Energy Policy Act (passed in 1992). This act, passed during an environmentalist hysteria, mandated that all toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This was a devastating setback in the progress of civilization. The new law was enforced with fines and imprisonment.

DHS Report Says "Disgruntled Military Veterans" Might Be "Rightwing Extremists":
Chuck Baldwin
January 5, 2010
On the heels of the now infamous Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report, in April of 2009 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an "assessment" report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." With virtually no references, documentation, or annotations, the report, which was released to all branches of American law enforcement, demonizes a host of citizens as having the capacity to become violent "rightwing extremists." Dr. Chuck Baldwin writes that if anyone has a legitimate reason to be disgruntled, it is America's veterans, who are explicitly targeted by the report.

Obama Positioning for Backdoor Gun Control:

Chuck Baldwin
January 5, 2010
On his recent April 2009 trip to Central America, President Barack Obama did more than cozy up to Marxist dictators; he also signed onto an international treaty that could, in effect, be used as backdoor gun control. According to Dr. Chuck Baldwin, it appears that Obama wants to use international treaties to do what congressional legislation is not able to do: further restrict the right of the American people to keep and bear arms.

Response to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's Plans to Add Regulatory Hurdles to Domestic Oil and Gas Companies:

Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE)
January 6, 2010
Today Interior Secretary Salazar held a press conference regarding his plans to add regulatory hurdles to America’s onshore domestic energy development. He has announced a change in oil and gas leasing and development and accused the Bush administration of treating the public lands as the industry’s “candy store.” The Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) issues this press release in response to this unwelcome development.

The Two Sides of Failure:
Jim Camp
January 6, 2010
Right now, Congress is trying to please everybody and, since October of 2008, has been bailing out businesses when, in fact, writes Jim Camp, the public might have been better served by allowing the laws of bankruptcy to permit the changes necessary to learn from failure. Every year thousands of new business ventures end in failure. The philosophers of capitalism call it “creative destruction” because, for every failure, there is a learning curve that leads to eventual success for those willing to evaluate what went wrong, change habits of management that led to failure, and avoid the previous mistakes.

Earmarks Don't Add Up:
Ron Paul
January 6, 2010
Earmarks seemed to have been the hot topic in 2009, and as a fiscal conservative, Rep. Ron Paul is dismayed that so many people deliberately distort the earmarking process and grandstand to make political points.  It is an easy thing to do with earmarks.  It takes a little more time and patience to grasp the reality of what earmarks really are.

Obama Gunning for the Second Amendment:
Selwyn Duke
January 7, 2010
Selwyn Duke believes that President Barack Obama is in fact striking a blow against the Second Amendment.  He isn't doing anything obvious such as advocating a ban on semi-automatic rifles, however (not yet); rather, in typical Saul Alinsky "Rules for Radicals" style, he is attacking where his adversaries least expect. 

Why on Earth Should Agriculture Be Subsidized at All?:

Bradley Doucet
January 7, 2010
There was little good news for free-market enthusiasts in President Obama’s first budget, unveiled in March of 2009. One of the exceptions is his proposal to rein in farm subsidies by cutting off one type of payment to farms with sales over $500,000 per year. The President actually deserves some credit for following through on this laudable campaign promise, and Bradley Doucet certainly hopes he succeeds in facing down the opposition.
                                                              
"The class of those who have the ability to think their own thoughts is separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the class of those who cannot." 
~ Ludwig von Mises