Friday, March 14, 2008

An Unbiased Global Warming Conference at AIER

It's hard to find unbiased reporting on the subject of global warming. As I read more and more about this supposed "problem" of international proportions, I am more and more skeptical of (1) the problem's existence, and (2) our power to do anything about it.

[Thanks to AIER for the photo of their campus's main house.]

The American Institute for Economic Research, founded by Edward C. Harwood, had a conference on the subject back in November, inviting scholars on both sides of the issue to express their views. For those of you who don't just "go along with the crowd," you may find their papers and videos interesting.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Government Regulation Gone Amuck No. 11: Mortgage Blaming Games and Bail-Outs

Alan Reynolds at Cato has a nice way with words.

This time, he points out how exquisitely ridiculous politicians can be.

[Thanks to for the Tenniel illustration of Alice in Wonderland.]

On the one hand, government has pursued and fined mortgage brokers for not lending to people with bad credit and for using a process called "red-lining."

On the other hand, and now that it has become expedient, the same politicians want to punish the mortgage brokers for lending to people with bad credit.

Go figure.

Read his piece. It's an eye-opener on how governments always get it wrong. This time, it's both Hillary and Obama who have come up with hair-brained solutions to our mortgage crisis that are so off-base and self-contradictory as to be almost funny.


And unfortunately, the Republicans are quite as guilty.

Off with their heads.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Niskanen Decries Excessive Fed Generosity

Cato Institute's chairman Bill Niskanen said this on Bloomberg the other day.

Everything confirms his judgment that the Fed is acting too fast and furiously, and that government is in bail-out mode, adding fuel to the inflationary fire. Both these actions will exacerbate the overfeeding of our economy with credit, instead of allowing the marketplace to destroy the mirage of unhealthy stuff.

[Thanks to for the photo of this overfed squirrel.]

The result of credit excess is price inflation. For years, the Fed and the overconfident public have been denying the existence of an inflation problem, not wanting to recognize it because it is camouflaged inside bubbles.

They will soon get their general price inflation, as the prices of all commodities continue to move up pretty much in unison (gold, silver, platinum, wheat, oil, etc.) At the same time, they will destroy the dollar, which is continuing its drop relative to other currencies (now at almost $1.53 per euro, for example).

There seems to be no end in sight just yet. Oh, and by the way, you thought things were bad under the Republicans. Just wait to see what happens if/when a populist, outright tax-and-spend Democrat gets into the White House.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Government Intervention Gone Amuck, Case No. 10: Food Subsidies

Yes, increased inflation is around the corner, judging from the news. Raw-material food commodities are doubling in price.

Some will explain the phenomenon with the following suggested causes:

1. Increased demand from China and India.
2. 2007 was a bad year for wheat and corn.
3. Speculation.
4. Uncharted worldwide monetary looseness (inflation's ultimate cause).

All of the above probably play a greater or lesser role in our current raw material inflation, but our government legislators are not innocent. They have contributed to this crisis by their intervention in our food markets.

[Thanks to for this photo of the monkey on our back.]

Here at Freetrade.Org you can read about food subsidies and the harm they do to our economy and to the poorest among us.

As the article states:

"[F]ailed government policies—supporting domestic farmers through restrictions on cheaper imports and stimulating demand for corn-fed ethanol—are adding to consumers’ woes. The federal government can and should take this opportunity to alleviate the effect of higher prices at the grocery store by reducing taxes on imported rice, dairy products, and sugar and by abandoning its misguided support for biofuels."

Tariffs, price supports, and other government-made distortions to the communication mechanism that is the marketplace almost always (if not always) backfire. See also my previous post about the rice fiasco in the US.

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