May 22, 2010

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My Week in Haiti:
Robert P. Murphy
May 22, 2010
Dr. Robert Murphy spent the last week of April in Leogane, Haiti, volunteering with Hands On Disaster Response (HODR). The trip was definitely out of his comfort zone and definitely changed his perspective, as he explains in these posts. In the present article, Dr. Murphy wants to focus on the economic lessons from his week in Haiti.

Should We Be Upbeat on Unemployment?:
Douglas French
May 22, 2010

The April jobs report was described as "upbeat," with the reported 290,000 positive job gain the best in four years. "It clearly shows that this economic recovery can no longer be seen as a jobless one," said Bart van Ark, chief economist of research firm The Conference Board. "Companies apparently are finding they can't squeeze out any more output without adding workers." 
Even the increase in the headline unemployment rate to 9.9 percent because more workers re-entered the job market was spun as positive. According to Douglas French, what the headlines and talking heads didn't mention was that there are still 15.3 million people lying around on the couch watching Oprah and Ellen every day and a record 46 percent of these folks have been out of work for six months or longer.

The Risks of Producing Energy:
Gary Wolfram
May 22, 2010

The massive oil spill resulting from an explosion and fire at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has once again made it clear that the production of energy is a risky business.  Eleven workers were killed, and a costly environmental cleanup is under way.  In April, 25 miners died in a West Virginia coal mine accident.  Similar accidents in the energy sector have cost the lives of workers in other countries. Although these accidents were unfortunate and costly, Dr. Gary Wolfram writes that there is no reason to halt energy production. 

Lessons from the Gulf Blowout:
Paul Driessen
May 22, 2010 

With regard to the recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Paul Driessen offers some level-headed advice: Learn the right lessons from this tragic, catastrophic, probably preventable accident.
Avoid grandstanding and kneejerk reactions. Replace people’s lost income. Insist on responsible, adult thinking – and a thorough, expert, non-politicized investigation. Find solutions instead of assigning blame.

The Moral Counter-Revolution of the Goldman Sachs Case:
Roger Donway
May 22, 2010 

Roger Donway discusses the critical importance of the SEC’s suit against Goldman Sachs: It seeks to reverse the free-market, enterpreneurial, pro-individualist revolution that has transformed the U.S. economy during the last fifty years. The suit implies that, morally and legally, every businessman must be his brother’s keeper—his customer’s, supplier’s, stockholder’s, bondholder’s, neighbor’s, and fellow countryman’s keeper. Whatever one thinks of Goldman Sachs as a company, it is that implication of the suit that pro-capitalists should reject.


Jean-Baptiste Colbert:
Murray N. Rothbard
May 22, 2010

Murray Rothbard writes that the result of the network of restrictions in France during the 16th through the 18th centuries was the total crippling of economic and industrial growth in France. The typical ploy of preserving "standards of quality" meant that competition was hobbled, production and imports limited, and prices kept high. It meant, in short, that consumers were not allowed the option of paying less money for lower-quality products. State-privileged monopolies grew as well, with similar effects; and upon the guilds and the monopolies the state levied increasing and stifling taxes. No man epitomized this tendency more than Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683).

Regular Folks Who Hate War:
Jeffrey Tucker
May 22, 2010

The world as portrayed in Bill Kauffman's fantastic new book is radically different, even upsidedown from the one we know. And yet the world he presents seems to make more intuitive sense. The title gives you the flavor: Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism (NY: Metropolitan Books: 2008). According to Jeffrey Tucker, what Kauffman has done in 281 pages is write a super-entertaining, very well-researched, and enormously enlightening history of how middle America has traditionally been the largest and most effective force of resistance to the imperial garrison state.

Fed Audit Under Fire:
Ron Paul
May 22, 2010

For Rep. Ron Paul, tt doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that the measure to audit the Federal Reserve is coming under continuous fire from the central bank and its cronies.  For the first time since the Federal Reserve was created nearly a century ago, they have hired an actual lobbyist to pound the pavement on Capitol Hill.  This is a desperate effort to hang on to the privilege of secrecy and lack of accountability they have enjoyed for so long.  Last week showed they are getting their money’s worth in the Senate.

Central Bankers as Identity Thieves:
Ron Paul
May 22, 2010

If someone incurred debts against you as an individual, without your knowledge or consent, you would call it identity theft.   You would call your bank for a full accounting of the debts incurred in your name, and after some verification, those debts would be declared invalid and you would not be held responsible for them.  Furthermore, if the culprit was found, he or she would be prosecuted and sent to jail. Not so, writes Rep. Ron Paul, with national governments and central banks.

A Few Questions for Climate Alarmists:
Paul Driessen
May 22, 2010 

The new Kerry-Lieberman climate bill mandates a 17% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It first targets power plants that provide reliable, affordable electricity for American homes, schools, hospitals, offices, and factories. Six years later, it further hobbles the manufacturing sector itself. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing its own draconian energy restrictions, in case Congress does not enact punitive legislation. Paul Driessen believes it is time to ask these politicians some fundamental questions.
"Much less is it adviseable for a Person to go thither [to America], who has no other Quality to recommend him but his Birth. In Europe it has indeed its Value; but it is a Commodity that cannot be carried to a worse Market than that of America, where people do not inquire concerning a Stranger, What is he? but, What can he do?" 
~ Benjamin Franklin