Issue CCXXXVI

February 15-21, 2010

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Culture
Scavengers of the Physical Universe:
Jeffrey Tucker
February 21, 2010
The change from physical to digital strikes Jeffrey Tucker as more significant than the move from iron to steel, from horses to internal combustion, or from land travel to air travel. In all other cases, the technological shift went from less- to more-efficient ways of accomplishing tasks by the use of things. But these things were still scarce. With the transition to digital media, scarcity in many important areas of life has been practically eliminated.

Economics
Structural Deficits vs. Cyclical Deficits:
Charles N. Steele
February 15, 2010
The distinction between structural and cyclical deficits is of the greatest importance if we hope to solve the problem of America's burgeoning national debt.  Dr. Charles Steele offers a quick primer on the difference and why it matters.

Bursting Eugene Fama's Bubble:
Robert P. Murphy
February 15, 2010
In a recent interview in the New Yorker, Eugene Fama, Chicago School economist and father of the efficient-markets hypothesis (EMH), defended his theory in light of the housing boom and crash. Fama's views on asset bubbles and business cycles stand in sharp contrast to the standard Austrian position. Dr. Robert Murphy writes that although Chicago and Austrian economists are on the same side on many policy questions — particularly in their opposition to Keynesian solutions — Fama's interview reveals the large differences in their theoretical toolboxes.

Is the Welfare State Sustainable?:
Charles N. Steele
February 20, 2010
Is the welfare state sustainable? Dr. Charles Steele does not think so.  And it should make us leery of most of the current proposals for health care reform, and especially the grossly misnamed "single payer" scheme.

Philosophy
Can the Free Market Be Saved Without Ayn Rand?:
Marsha Enright and Gen LaGreca
February 20, 2010
It’s been a year since Stephen Moore’s article, “Atlas Shrugged: from Fiction to Fact in 52 Years ,” seemed to ignite an explosion of interest in Ayn Rand. Sales of this prescient novel tripled; two Rand biographies have been selling like hotcakes; and references to her in the media have skyrocketed. Yet, some free-market defenders continue to repudiate her and her ideas, as they have for decades. But in their rush to distance themselves from Rand, they succumb to a deadly philosophic trap, according to Marsha Enright and Gen LaGreca.

Poetry
A Limerick on the Federal Reserve:
G. Stolyarov II
February 15, 2010
A limerick by Mr. Stolyarov regarding the behavior of the entity that originated the recent financial and economic crisis.

Politics
Are US Taxpayers Bailing Out Greece?:
Ron Paul
February 20, 2010
Last week we were reminded that ours is not the only country suffering from severe economic turmoil.  The Greek government is the latest to come close to default on it massive public debt.  Greece has insufficient funds in its treasury to make even the minimum payments that are now coming due.  Its debt level is about 120 percent of its gross domestic product, and its public sector absorbs what amounts to 40 percent of GDP.  Any talk of cutting costs and spending is met with violent protests from the many Greeks heavily dependent on government payments.  Mounting fears of default have sent shockwaves through Greece's creditors and all of the Eurozone countries. Is it possible that our Federal Reserve has had some hand in bailing out Greece?  The fact is, writes Rep. Ron Paul, we don’t know, and current laws exempt agreements between the Fed and foreign central banks from disclosure or audit.

The Multi-Billion-Dollar Global Warming Fraud:
Alan Caruba
February 21, 2010
As the massive global warming fraud implodes, Alan Caruba writes that the one aspect of it that has not been explored in depth is the equally massive waste of billions of dollars spent by the United States and nations around the world, we were told, to avoid global warming.

Obama's Invisible Homeless and Hungry:
Alan Caruba
February 21, 2010
During the Reagan years, the media was filled with stories of the homeless as if to refute any improvement in the economy under a conservative president. These days, however, as America’s national debt and deficit continue to spiral out of control, the poor and the hungry remain largely unseen and, most significantly, largely unreported.  For now the homeless and hungry will remain invisible to most Americans, but, according to Alan Caruba, the media will be able to ignore this problem for only so long, and then it will have to be addressed.

The Great Green Land Grab:
Alan Caruba
February 21, 2010
All across America, various environmental organizations have been engaged in schemes to deter development such as housing, new energy plants, or the horror of a manufacturing facility that might actually employ people. In some states, the attack has been on farms and ranches, finding ways to punish their owners for improving their land in any fashion such as digging a drainage ditch. Alan Caruba believes that, given their antipathy to all human activity, if the Greens had their way, they would put up signs everywhere that would say, “Keep Out!”
                                                      
"To pray to God is to flatter oneself that with words one can alter nature." 
~ Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire